Geneva Motor Show visitors with coronavirus symptoms must stay away

Time 12:28 pm, February 25, 2020

VISITORS to the Geneva International Motor Show should ensure they have exhibited no signs of the coronavirus 14 days prior to attending – and if they have, stay away.

That’s the updated safety advice issued today from organisers of the show set to take place next week (March 5-15) at the Palexpo in Switzerland.

The motor show, which attracts 600,000 visitors a year from across the world, is due to open on Tuesday, March 3, for VIP access ahead of the public days beginning on Thursday, March 5.

Organisers are monitoring the coronavirus outbreak daily and taking advice from the authorities in Switzerland as the event hangs in the balance.

Geneva International Motor Show managing director Olivier Rihs told the PA news agency that a decision to close the show could be taken up until the morning of the event, and throughout its run, but that currently ‘everything is going ahead as planned’.

He added: ‘The advice from the authorities here in Geneva is that the show can continue – and they are the only ones who can say yes or no to the show going ahead.

‘We have had no exhibitors pull out. They are all here and building their stands.’

Asked if he felt it was responsible to continue to hold the show in light of the growing health crisis, especially as large areas across the border in Italy are quarantined, he said he felt it was.

No reason to cancel

Rihs added: ‘Our priority is the health of exhibitors and visitors. If we had to close the event, then so too would the UN in Geneva have to shut its doors because they have visitors from across the world too.

‘At the moment there is no danger and no reason to cancel our show.’

Palexpo SA – the organisers – have today issued updated advice to visitors from ‘at-risk areas’ to ensure they have shown no signs of coronavirus symptoms in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the country.

Rihs admitted, though, that this does rely on visitors ‘self certifying as healthy’ before attending.

A statement said: ‘The organisers encourage exhibitors from at-risk areas to ensure that their staff pass the necessary checks and do not show any symptoms of infection in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Switzerland, so as to avoid any risk of spread that could result from their presence in Geneva.

‘Palexpo is in regular contact with the General Directorate of Health of the Republic and Canton of Geneva and its medical advisor to develop a sanitary action plan, adjustable in real time.’

Organisers have increased their cleaning and disinfection routine at the show, implemented more signage and have put in place new training for staff.

Two weeks ago, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, which attracts 100,000 visitors from across the world, was cancelled, the first time the show had been called off in 33 years. Organisers blamed the coronavirus outbreak.

A spokesperson for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents the automotive industry in the UK, said it was still planning on attending the Geneva Motor Show.

‘It is up to individual manufacturers to decide whether they still want to attend the show, but we have not received any advice from health authorities,’ said the spokesperson. ‘We’ll be continuing to take a watching brief on the situation as it develops.’

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James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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